Did Loblaw Cos. just get a Consumer Behaviour 101 lesson?

Loblaw Companies, perched atop the Canadian retail industry with an estimated 29 percent market share, announced on Jan. 17 that it would no longer offer 50 percent off perishable items (such as salads and meats) approaching their Best Before date. From now on, the company said, the discount would be 30 percent.

Consumers were outraged and the Loblaw head office in Toronto was deluged with complaints. Even worse, Loblaw Cos. took a battering on social media. The New Democratic Party’s “food price inflation critic” Alastair MacGregor wrote to the Competition Bureau urging them to open an investigation. And CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) was indignant. Over the weekend, Loblaws Cos. announced that it was reverting to the 50 percent discount on soon-to-expire perishables.